In case you haven’t heard, there is a labor shortage in the United States and it’s even being felt here in Beaverton. Factors such as the increase in the minimum wage, the rising cost of medical insurance, historically low unemployment rates, and even underemployment are all contributing to this issue. Employers are stretched thin, seeking to find better ways to fill vacant positions with skilled and reliable candidates. Some employers, however, are turning to an untapped pool of candidates who have historically been overlooked and underutilized in their communities.
At a recent workshop in Beaverton, Dirkse CC Training and Curriculum Development Specialist, Andrew Lundgren, M.A., LMFT, LPC shared with attendees the answer to their hiring problems: tapping into the world of disability inclusion. By putting aside fears, biases, and myths of employing people with disabilities, employers can move from a place of anxiety to a place of relief, hope, and improve their bottom line through disability inclusion.
Here are some suggestions that were shared to help support and overcome these barriers:
- Look at your hiring practices – are they accessible to all people?
- Learn about disabilities and potential accommodations
- Learn about resources that can help – many are free to access
- Connect with partner agencies who are experts in hiring people with disabilities
Lorraine Clarno, Executive Director of the Beaverton Chamber of Commerce, shared that in her experience, hiring people with disabilities means hiring “dependable, reliable, and caring individuals” who help to streamline the day-to-day work activities. She added, “Dirkse CC has educated me about the opportunities of working with people with disabilities, but what it did for our staff morale was a bonus I didn’t anticipate. It’s been fantastic!”
Companies can not only improve their bottom line through hiring candidates with disabilities, as Clarno mentioned, they can also improve their staff morale by showing a commitment to creating a culture of inclusion and diversity. When employees feel their company values their sense of belonging and believes in diversity, employees report a higher level of satisfaction, productiveness, and overall, community.